What’s with the Coconut Oil #2 – Let’s Get Practical

Usually the first comment clients make when I encourage lots of good fats, like coconut oil, is “What about low-fat?” Take a look at my April blog and the Weston A Price Foundation . As time goes by, we are seeing more and more truth hitting the mainstream about the low-fat myth. Gary Taubes was right on the money with his article What if it’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?

Ask yourself, if you still believe the low-fat jargon, what are you going to eat instead? Carbs. Carbohydrates that signal the release of insulin to store body fat. I haven’t met a client yet who wants that. And those carbs are usually processed foods (breads, “health food” bars, pasta) which make our blood sugar go up quickly then crash. Ample amounts of good fats, like coconut oil, at every meal keep the blood sugar level.

Coconut oil at room temperature, which is how it should be stored, is a solid. This shows that it is saturated (and good for you) and stable. Being saturated makes it a good cooking oil as it won’t turn toxic when heated.

What to buy…Make sure you get organic, virgin coconut oil. In their book Eat Fat, Lose Fat Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon highly recommend tropicaltraditions.com as it is made through a traditional process and supports artisan coconut oil producers. Most health food stores as well as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stock virgin coconut oil extracted using safe, non-toxic methods.

OK, so you’ve got your coconut oil…now what? Switch it out for any toxic liquid oils you have in your cupboard (vegetable, canola, corn) or margarine in the frig (if you’re not allergic to milk…keep eating butter. It provides a whole other bunch of nutrients.)

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re in luck. Consuming coconut oil before your meals can help escalate weight loss. When you consume it about 20 minutes before meal time, you won’t feel near as hungry – which will curb your appetite. It’s 100% natural and something your body recognizes (unlike diet pills and powders). Start with a teaspoon in warm water once a day first thing in the morning. Don’t like the taste? Have it in green tea, or herbal tea, or your coffee if you drink that. You’ll get used to it.

After a couple days, double the amount you’re consuming, after a couple more, double it again. Below are Fallon and Enig’s recommendations for daily consumption according to weight:
90-130 # – 1 Tbl per meal up to 3 Tbl day
131-180# – 1.5 Tbls per meal up to 4.5 Tbl a day
and over 180# – 2 Tbls per meal up to 6 Tbl a day

How else can you get this wondrous oil in your body
* Use as a body moisturizer
* Use a small amount for dry scalp and hair
* Use on toast (preferably true sourdough as it is prepared traditionally)
* Super drink – add to warm bone broth with a dash of tasty mineral rich sea salt
* Add a tablespoon or 2 to your casseroles or mashed potatoes
* Mix with your butter or use alone on morning warm cereals
* Have a quart jar in your cupboard with Mary’s (Enig) Blend in it for cooking: 1 cup each coconut oil, olive oil and sesame oil. This is especially delicious for salad dressings

And please be aware, not only is the oil of the coconut incredible for you, but the meat and the milk are good for you, too. Make sure to get high quality organic safely made products.
Then you can try:
* Sprinkling coconut on top of just about anything – salads, casseroles, oatmeal (which is best for the body if soaked).
* Adding coconut milk to smoothies, soups, porridge, and sauces

This should give you ample ideas for integrating coconut products into your life.

Do pay attention to your body’s response. After years, even decades of eating unhealthy fats, it may take your body some time to adjust to the molecules of this healthy fat. Start out small, like with cooking. If you don’t feel well after eating coconut oil, perhaps it’s not for you. I personally have not met anyone yet with such a sensitivity, but I believe it can exist.

As always, wishing you REAL food for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.




What’s with the Coconut Oil?

This is the first in a 2 part series on consuming coconut oil and coconut products. While this article addresses the “why?” the next article will be the “how”.

Talk about a super food

For balanced energy, blood sugar and health

One of the primary things I suggest for my clients (and family and friends) to consider is adding coconut oil into their lifestyle. The reason is 2-fold. First and foremost we have got to get those toxic vegetable oils out of our diets. We were told they were good for us because of the polyunsaturates, right? However, the truth was skewed to benefit the edible oil industry. The process by which they are made is downright scary. Vegetable oils (i.e. corn, soy, canola, etc) become even more toxic when they are heated. These oils, as well as margarine, were NEVER good for us, but their sale is good for market share. Unfortunately, what is on TV and in the media does not have to be the truth, it just has to make money.

The second reason is the plethora of benefits the human body can gain from consuming coconut oil (orally and through the skin). Read on.

From Sally Fallon’s foundational Nourishing Traditions – The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats we learn how oils like coconut and palm have protected third world tropical communities from fungus and bacteria in their food supply for generations. As more recent generations have switched to poly-unsaturated vegetable oils, the incidence of intestinal disorders has increased. This is because coconut oil is chalked full of medium chain fatty acids (also called medium chain triglycerides) like lauric acid which has strong anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. The only substance that has as much lauric acid is human breast milk – liquid gold to an infant’s developing immune system. The body changes the fatty acid to mono-laurin which can destroy lipid coated viruses like HIV virus, measles virus, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1).

From Dr. Ray Peat we see: An important function of coconut oil is that it supports mitochondrial respiration, increasing energy production that has been blocked by the unsaturated fatty acids we been told to consume for the last several decades. While these polyunsaturated fatty acids inhibit thyroid function on many levels, coconut oil can promote thyroid function by reducing those toxic effects. It allows normal mitochondrial oxidative metabolism, without producing the toxic lipid peroxidation that is promoted by unsaturated fats. This assistance with metabolism helps with weight control, something most of my clients are concerned about.

From Dr. Bruce Fife: Consuming coconut oil slows down sugar being absorbed in the bloodstream and helps with the secretion of insulin by the pancreas. We all depend on our pancreas so whether you’re diabetic or not, this is positive for your body.

So coconut oil increases our immunity, helps our pancreas, blood sugar, thyroid and metabolism. Does it do anything else? According to an article by Dr. Mary Enig it helps improve heart health promoting normal platelet function. The liquid vegetable oils in the grocery store do the opposite – they increase platelet stickiness which can lead to blood clots.

After starting consumption of coconut oil on a regular basis, clients tell me they feel better than they have in years, their skin is more supple, and they don’t get hungry (and subsequently don’t snack too much like they used to). However, the most exciting case study of which I am aware regarding the benefits of coconut oil comes from Dr. Mary Newport whose husband has shown remarkable cognitive and functional gains since he began to consume coconut oil. Dr. Newport, medical director of the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida, watched as her 53 year old husband became incapacitated by early onset Alzheimer’s. When conventional medication failed to help his condition, Dr. Newport (after much research) decided to try using coconut oil because of the medium chain triglycerides. The liver converts MCTs directly to ketone bodies, which are then available for use as energy by the brain. Her husband just celebrated his fourth year of improved functioning, not the regression usually seen in Alzheimer’s patients. We aren’t aware yet what it can do for the “average” brain.

So much to ponder…

Next week we will take a practical look at how to add this wonderful substance to your life everyday. Adding coconut oil to one’s diet is easy on the body since most of the fatty acids in it do not require bile for digestion. And the body turns them directly into energy providing fuel to meet the activity expectations we have for our busy lives.

Until then, wishing you REAL food, for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.




Why Organic?

sustains us and the planetIn my last article I touched on how what we put on our skin affects our health. Hard for some people to believe. Today we’ll look at the more accepted premise – we are what we eat. Think about it. We consume “stuff” and it becomes our bodies. Shouldn’t we be aware of what is in that “stuff”? What we put in our mouth is the #1 contributor to our wellness (or lack thereof). The way we eat changes our immune system, our muscles and joints, our brain and moods. With the degradation of the food supply, our wellness is running into major trouble.

So let’s take a look at pesticides. Organophophate pesticide poisons were developed during Hitler’s reign as chemical warfare. And we’re using them on our crops?? There are over 180 identified pesticides used in this country that are endocrine disruptors. That means they mess with our hormones (like insulin) which oversee the functioning of all the necessary activities in the body. The average American consumer is exposed to between 5 and 10 pesticides per day on the Standard American Diet (SAD) . Even with a well functioning liver, those toxins are going to build up. Proponents of the chemical industry say the trace amounts in our food are too small to negatively effect health (100 parts per billion). Did you know that the NuvaRing, the birth control vaginal ring, contains .019 parts per billion and it prevents reproduction?! Albuterol, the asthma inhaler, works at 2.1 parts per billion, quite effectively for those in distress. We’re kidding ourselves if we think the pesticide residues in and on our food are inert.

Why aren’t physicians advising everyone to eat organic? Because they are not being educated about the damaging, even life threatening effects of pesticides on living cells/tissues/bodies. They’re treating diseases AFTER they occur. The information is out there, but it has not been considered a priority in med school. Who is going to advocate for including it in the curriculum?

Consider this. Back in the 80’s when I was raising my family, kids just didn’t have the health problems they’re having today. It was rare to see a child or adolescent with high blood sugar or blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides, or a waist size above 40 inches. Now, 2/3 of high school students have at least one of these markers (Dr. Alan Greene, lecture to organic farmers, 2009). During the last 30 years our food supply has experienced MAJOR compromises (pesticides, GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, additives, preservatives, colorings, and more). The way we are feeding our children is setting them up for a lifetime (often abbreviated) of illness.

So let’s talk about diabetes for a minute. Studies have confirmed a link between diabetes prevalence (and auto-immune diseases) and pesticides. Adult onset diabetes is now called type II diabetes because so many young people are getting it. A diagnosis of diabetes for a child is likely to reduce their lifespan 10-20 years. The cost of caring for them over their lifetime is estimated somewhere between $300,000 and $3 million – per child! Why then, do we continue sourcing our school lunches from conventionally grown and processed foods? Because it’s cheap, “inexpensive” if you will. We can feed a lot of children for very little money. The long term price tag however, is astronomical. And the pain and sadness are priceless. Imagine what we could do if we spent more for organic food and prevented diabetes in thousands (and thousands) of young people.

OK, so pesticides are dangerous. What about the hormones they use to fatten up livestock, make more milk and get those huge chicken breasts we think are good for us? Well, there is NO evidence anywhere to show the safety of the hormones used on animals. There are studies however, that show increased cancer in people who consume conventionally raised meat. That was why in 1989, Europe banned the import of meat raised in this country.

The great thing is, there are farmers with integrity out there that understand the connection between sustainable farming and sustaining human life. Animals raised on smaller farms are roaming the grass in the sunshine and taking in life sustaining nutrients that are passed on to us when we eat them. Organic vegetable and fruit farmers do not use toxic, cancer causing pesticides, AND they add needed minerals back into the soil so plants and trees can bear produce that builds healthy human bodies. Research shows that organically grown foods contain significantly more nutrients and antioxidants AND those nutrients are more bioavailable to your cells. Anyone who consumes organically raised food on a regular basis also knows it tastes great! I encourage you to find local sources for organically raised food. There are more and more every day as we spread the word of true healthy living.

Until next time…Wishing you real food for real health so you can be REAL HAPPY.
Additional recommended reading:
Mounting Evidence Links Pesticides to Parkinson’s Disease
Serum organochlorine pesticide residues and risk of gallstone disease: A case-control study in Xiamen.
Childhood brain tumors, residential insecticide exposure, and pesticide metabolism genes.
New study confirms atrazine’s effects across a range of species (including us)
Organic Foods Contain More Nutrients!
Study links Honey Bee Deaths to Corn Insecticides




The First Step to Better Health – Bacon Fat*

*from grass fed pigs…and organic evco

This post is dedicated to the incredible activist film maker Chris Bedford who introduced me to the sad and insidious world of food politics. He guided me – and thousands of others – to the possibilities for making our world sustainable. Today’s blog is controversial…Chris always loved controversy.

My family's favorite fat


Fats? Seriously? We’re supposed to avoid them, right? They clog our arteries and make us unhealthy. Especially animal fats. NOT!

Many people ask me what the first step toward better health is – I say switch out your fat. In my studies and travels I’ve met a growing number of very healthy people who understand the dire importance of good fats in the diet. But I’ve found the majority of people who live in my beautiful corner of the world, the Lakeshore of West Michigan, don’t have a clue. So I write this for them. The rest of you, nod your head and say “yup”.

Our bodies need fats. And saturated fats, those dreaded rascals that the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society have been warning us against for decades, are in EVERY cell in your body. Our heart, nerves, hormones and brain need them everyday. Has the advice we’ve been getting all these years shown a dramatic decline in cancer and heart disease? Let’s be honest…No.

Lipids and cholesterol = healthy cell membranes

That’s because our cells are starving. Look at any anatomy book and you’ll find that saturated fats and cholesterol form a key part of the outer edge (membrane) of all the cells that make up YOU.

So we have been encouraged to swap out animal fat with vegetable oils that aren’t healthy at the cellular level. Our poor cell membranes don’t get what they need to stay pliable and do their jobs in relation to the cells around them (cell signalling). After years of consumption of these liquid vegetable oils we end up with problems all over the body – immune system disruption, heart disease, memory issues, cancer and more. Yes, other lifestyle factors contribute to these concerns also, but why increase your risk? Dr. Mary Enig, the world renowned expert on the biochemical structure and effect of fats in the body discusses the issue at length in this interview, if you want to know more (and you REALLY should). No, you won’t see this on television or in the mass media because there’s no money in it. At least not for big business. But the truth is coming out, thanks to organizations like the Price Pottenger Foundation and the Weston A Price Foundation and the Internet (as long as we remain uncensored).

Well done Dr. Enig!! How sad that so many young people’s eyes were damaged because the advice we were given was flat out wrong. How long is it going to take to get this truth into the mainstream?

We must be aware of the QUALITY of the fats we eat. The fats from a grassfed cow are going to be healthy and the fats from a feed-lot cow eating GMO grains grown with pesticides and then filled with antibiotics and hormones are going to be VERY different. The organic extra virgin coconut oil that our cells thrive on and that can be safely heated to high temperatures is miles ahead of the rancid refined vegetable oil on the grocery store shelves that gets further damaged when we cook with it.

We’ve been sick long enough. It’s time for a change. The very first step I recommend is get rid of those truly dangerous fats and start adding in the coconut oil and fats that come from critters raised outside naturally. By the way, grass fed bacon grease is one of THE most tasty ways to add flavor to your casseroles and stir-frys.

We’ll talk about the superfood cod liver oil some other day.

Until next time, wishing you Real Food for Real Health so you can be Real Happy




Eat Red Meat!*

* from grass fed cows – local farms if you can

I just got done listening to an interview with Dr. James Carlson about the importance of red meat and saturated fat in the diet and how the recent study that came out from Harvard is fraught with poor research and advice. That report says any level of red meat consumption increases the rate of mortality. I strongly encourage you to take a listen at red-meat-bane-or-boon.

Dr. Carlson is the author of a book entitled Genocide: How Your Doctor’s Dietary Ignorance Will Kill You. Think about that title, please, because it speaks a sad and deadly truth. Dr. Carlson specializes in treating patients with heart disease, diabetes and obesity and does so by encouraging his patients to eat more red meat and animal products and reduce their consumption of whole grains and fruits. He says he sees “wonderful health benefits” when they change their diet in this way.

Because I know how busy everyone is and how inundated we are with SO much information, I felt compelled to note some of the highlights of the interview. This is very very important information that is contrary to the mainstream ill-advice the media is perpetuating.

The above mentioned “study” is based on questionnaires filled out by people from memory. Inferences were then drawn from those results. Lifestyle factors (confounding factors) like smoking, drinking, BMI and being sedentary were not adequately considered. No differentiation in the source of the meat was made. So corn fed, hormone and antibiotic laden factory cows were put in the same catagory as beef from cows raised in the sunshine on pasture. There is a difference. We are what we eat and the cows are what they eat.

Dr. Carlson points out in the interview the importance of cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet for proper nervous and circulatory system function. As a biochemist, he stresses that the danger comes not from eating cholesterol but from when our body creates cholesterol out of glucose and fructose. In the modern U.S. diet, this means processed food – and items like whole grains, pasta, rice and fruit. These products contain an overabundance of carbohydrates that break down to simple sugars which form the cholesterol that causes deadly plaque in the arteries. When his patients back off on carbs, their critical lab numbers (i.e. blood sugar and blood pressure) improve. He also contends that he has seen HDL increase more with the consumption of good saturated fats than with exercise.

Denise Minger’s analysis of the Harvard study was discussed. I encourage you to look further into her critical, well written examination of the faulty research.

Carlson’s “take home” from the interview is to be VERY cautious about the advice from this study. He ends by saying if you’re obese and have issues with diabetes and heart disease, grass fed red meat is the way to go (and back off whole grains and fruit)…based on his clinical practice of over 20 years.

As always, I encourage you to do your own research and come up with your own conclusions.

Until next time, wishing you Real Food for Real Health so you can be Real Happy




What We’ve Learned from Traditional Diets

http://www.tngparentsgroup.org/weston_price
Our standard American diet is sad; sad because its consumption is making us sick. Rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, as well as obscure diseases and behavioral problems in children are higher than ever.

Theories of healthy nutrition come and go, which only adds to the confusion about what we should eat to be healthy. The food industry loves this because then we all just throw our hands up and say…”everything is bad for you.” This is just not true. While sifting through all the claims and advice is not easy, when you use common sense and diligence, the truth emerges.

Fortunately we have the work of Weston A Price to show us what people who were truly healthy ate. Dr. Price identified 14 groups of disease free people. If we look at the diets of these hearty people we see they had similarities with each other but were very different to how we eat today. These common factors helped them build strong bodies that resisted disease.

Here are the 9 common characteristics of these life sustaining diets. Compare them with how you eat – could there be a correlation with your own aches, pains, tooth decay and other health problems? The answer is yes.

1. 30% to 80% of calories were from fat

2. Unrefined salts were eaten regularly

3. Lacto-fermented foods provided healthy bacteria for the intestine (this is where our nutrients are taken in to build our cells)

4. Absolutely no denatured/refined foods were eaten (no flour, sugar, lowfat milk, refined vegetable oils, food additives)

5. Some animal food was consumed by every group, be it raw milk or products made from it, fish, eggs, beef, pork or insects and reptiles

6. Nuts, grains and seeds were always prepared to neutralize substances in them called anti-nutrients

7. Preparation methods included cooking, soaking, sprouting and fermenting and some animal foods were consumed raw (milk and meat).

8. The amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 oils were about equal. Today that ratio is often 1:20 which has a devastating effect on our cells, particularly in the brain

9. All cultures used animal bones, usually to make bone broths.

These people ate REAL food they took time to prepare with love and care. And that food became their bodies through digestion and assimilation.

Are you eating REAL food? Think it might be time to?

If you see this as possible in your life, good for you, because it is. Large numbers of people are healing themselves by returning to traditional diets. The Weston A Price Foundation website is a wonderful resource. Each of the above issues will be addressed in detail in future articles on this blog.

Until next time, wishing you Real Food for Real Health so you can be Real Happy




Rethinking the Food Pyramid…

Did you know that after the USDA released the Food Pyramid in 1992 the rate of obesity skyrocketed? That’s what happens when you encourage people to consume 6-11 servings a day of grain products without mention of product quality. And yes, there was a major link to the grain lobby. At the same time, the tip of the pyramid made the recommendation to use fats sparingly…no regard for the difference between good and bad fats. No mention of the fact that all our hormones are made from cholesterol.

The pyramid evolved and we were encouraged to eat less grains, make them whole, consume more fruits and veggies, but still eat “lowfat” milk and protein sources. We now have a “plate” as a guide – it’s better but does not address the need for high quality fat consumption (so necessary DAILY for cell and brain health) or the processing of grains/nuts/seeds in a manner so our body can better use their nutrients. The issues of pesticide residues, dangers of genetically modified organisms, concern about antibiotics and hormones in our animal products are not mentioned. These issues are real and are negatively effecting our health with every bite.

With so much mis-information out there, are you feeling overwhelmed? Feeling misled? Please don’t despair. The movement to get back to REAL nutrient dense food is growing exponentially. We will get there one step at a time. Pick a place to start this month. How about finding a local market in your area where you can meet the REAL farmer who grows your food. Or pick one vegetable or fruit in your diet and promise yourself you will only buy it if it’s grown organically.

One positive effort by the USDA is the program Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. This is a step in the right direction to deal with the issues mentioned above. Here in Muskegon County, we are fortunate to have a source for local and organic food called Sweetwater Local Foods Market.

Take that first step.
Just start…

Until next time, wishing you real food for real health so you can be real happy.

Update January 2014 – Denise Minger has now published an amazing book I highly recommend Death By Food Pyramid.




The Keys to Traditional Eating

We are in the midst of an informational paradigm shift. Thanks to the Internet and politically incorrect non-profits like the Weston A Price Foundation© and the Price-Pottenger Foundation©, and movies like Food, Inc. and Fresh, a revolution in how we choose, prepare and consume food is on. Across the world, people are switching to organically grown and raised local produce, eggs, milk, chicken and meat. When they do, they see dramatic positive changes in their health, mood and energy levels.

Many argue it is too expensive to go this route, but when we look at the cost of “health” care for chronic disease, which is at an all time high, can we afford NOT to make these changes?

The founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Sally Fallon Morell lays the foundation for REAL healthy eating.